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Behavioural Policy

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Article Index
Behavioural Policy
Guiding Values
Internal Structure and Procedures
Ladder of Referral
School Expectations
Promoting Good Behaviour Policy
Rewards and acknowledgements
Sanctions
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CODE OF BEHAVIOUR

Goals of Code of Behaviour

1.Create a safe and structured learning environment for all students by promoting a sense of mutual respect among all members of the school community.

2.Have effective procedures in place which will allow for the day to day running of the school and which meet the demands of current legislation.

3.Promote good behaviour and self-discipline.

4.Allow for the appropriate involvement of all school personnel.

5.Ensure understanding by the parents, students, staff and management of the Code of Behaviour and the rationale behind it.

6.Emphasise the promotion and acknowledgement of good behaviour.

7.Outline the strategies to be used to prevent poor behaviour or the ways in which positive behaviour is acknowledged.

8.Outline the structure of fair, consistent and agreed sanctions that will be used in response to negative behaviour.

9.Outline the interventions to be used when a student repeatedly or seriously misbehaves.


Guiding Values

The guiding values taken into consideration when establishing discipline structures for the school were:

  • Respect
  • Justice
  • Diligence
  • Fairness
  • Responsibility for ones’ own actions
  • Encouragement of students to work hard to achieve their individual potential (Academically, Spiritually, Socially, Emotionally, Aesthetically, Creatively and Physically)
  • Provision of equal opportunities for all abilities and situations
  • Positive affirmation of student’s behaviour and their schoolwork
  • Engender a sense of belongingness and Community Spirit

Scope of Code of Behaviour

  • This Code of Behaviour applies to the students of St. Declan’s Community College
  • This Code of Behaviour applies within the school, throughout the school day and to all activities organised by or through the school
  • This Code of Behaviour applies to misbehaviour that may occur in the vicinity of the school, that is likely to have a damaging effect on the reputation of our school and the safety, health and welfare of students, staff or members of the public.
  • Our Code of Behaviour is not a definitive document. It may be added to or altered should the need arise.   Our Code of Behaviour is required so that the safety of our students is maintained and to assist in the smooth running of the school. 

Internal Structure and Procedures

Role of Principal

In conjunction with the Board of Management the Principal is responsible for overseeing the implementation of school policy: Overall management, organisation, administration and discipline of the school including the development and supervision of staff, organisation of curriculum, management of school finances, communications with Department of Education and Science, parent body and the wider community.

Role of Deputy Principal

Assists the Principal in planning, organising and day-to-day running of the school. Is responsible for teacher substitution and implementation of the disciplinary committee in the school.

In the absence of the Principal the Deputy Principal is in charge of the school.

In the event of the absence of the Principal an Assistant Principal will assist the Deputy Principal in the running of the school. This will be done on an agreed rota system with the Assistant Principals.

In the event of the absence of the Principal and Deputy Principal an Assistant Principal will be in charge of the school. This will be done on an agreed rota system with the Assistant Principals.

Role of the Year Head

The Year Head has general responsibility for the welfare of a year group. The Year Head monitors student attendance and punctuality, academic performance and behaviours and liases with the parents of the year group

The Year Head works closely with subject teachers, tutors, guidance counsellor, SNAs, the administration staff the Deputy Principal and Principal.

Role of Class Tutor

The Class Tutor works closely with the student, subject teacher and Year Head. The Class Tutor monitors pupil journals and helps pupils to be positive in their behaviour and work.

Subject Teacher

The Subject Teacher has responsibility for maintaining good behaviour within his/her class and within the school premises and at all school related events or trips. The subject teacher is vital in promoting and maintaining high standards of behaviour and respectful conduct. To meet these standards reasonable and fair objectives, which are clearly explained, should be placed on the pupils. The subject teacher should make every effort to see that these objectives are met by the student.


Ladder of Referral

As a school community we recognise that parental involvement at each stage of the referral ladder may have a positive outcome on student behaviour.

Parental involvement may include notes in journal, telephone conversations and formal meetings.

Step 1 Class teacher

Classroom management is the responsibility of each class teacher (The class teacher deals with discipline within his/her own class as laid out in the school Code of Behaviour.   Appropriate sanctions may be used at the teacher’s discretion. (These should include some positive interventions.)

Step 2 Class Tutor

Recurring behavioural problems should involve the assistance of the tutor. Written documentation must be submitted to the tutor outlining the indiscretion and suggestions made for its resolution.

Step 3 Year Head

Persistent misbehaviour and serious breaches of discipline may be referred to the appropriate Year Head. Supporting documentation must be submitted to the Year Head.

Step 4 Discipline Committee

The Discipline Committee consists of the relevant Year Head, Class Tutor and another teacher. The committee is charged with protecting the right of every student of St. Declan’s Community College to learn in a disruption free environment. The Discipline Committee advises the Principal on serious disciplinary issues:

  • The Discipline Committee will monitor students who are placed on a Contract of Learning
  • The Discipline Committee may meet students who consistently breach the school Code of Behaviour despite sanctions imposed.
  • The Discipline Committee may recommend to the Deputy Principal/Principal that a sanction be imposed up to and including suspension.

Step 5 Deputy Principal

The Year Head may decide to refer serious breaches of discipline to the Deputy Principal. The Deputy Principal may consult the discipline committee and make a recommendation to the Principal.

Step 6 Principal

A student may be referred to the Principal if the student demonstrates persistent misbehaviour, disputes a sanction imposed or if a serious breach of discipline has occurred. The Principal may refer breaches of behaviour to the Board of Management.

Note

At each stage of the discipline procedure appropriate paperwork must be completed, dated and signed. Paperwork should be stored in the students file and a note to the parent/guardian referring to the indiscretions and sanction imposed should be noted in the student’s diary to be signed by the parent/guardian at each stage of the discipline procedure. Parents/Guardians may also be notified by letter. At any stage of the discipline procedure a student may be referred to the Guidance Counsellor or other appropriate personnel from within or outside of the school.


School Expectations

(1)RESPECT

  1. We expect our students to be respectful, courteous and adhere to the highest standards of behaviour at all times.
  1. Foul or abusive language or an aggressive or threatening tone used to any staff member or to any member of the school community will not be tolerated and will lead to an appropriate sanction being imposed up to and including suspension.
  1. School property must be respected at all times and deliberate damage to school property will be severely dealt with - sanction up to and including suspension may be imposed and student(s) will be asked to make a contribution towards replacement costs. The use of Tippex (correction fluid) is banned

Because:

    • All members of the school community are entitled to your respect and cooperation.
    • Foul or abusive language demonstrates lack of respect and can cause hurt.
    • This encourages a positive environment for our school community.

(2)CONDUCT (BEHAVIOUR)

  1. Bullying or harassment in any form will not be tolerated and will be dealt with appropriately by school authorities (see Anti-Bullying Policy)
  2. Mobile phones and all personal audio devices must not be visible and must be turned off from arrival at school to departure from school. If this rule is breached the phone or device is withdrawn from student, held overnight and must be collected the following day by parent/guardian. A handling fee of €10 will apply.
  3. The unauthorised recording and uploading of images displaying school property or members of the school community is strictly prohibited.
  4. Students must dispose of all waste material as per the Green Schools guidelines and thus litter will be avoided.
  5. The terms of the school book rental and locker contract must be adhered to at all times.

Because:

    • Bullying causes fear, hurt and misery
    • The use of mobile phones is disruptive during school time. It is important to protect the privacy of all in the school community.
    • Keeping the school environment pleasant and litter free is everyone’s responsibility.
    • The schools’ and each individual’s right to privacy must be protected at all times.

(3)UNIFORM

  1. 1.Students will attend school in School uniform. Students’ appearance must comply with the school uniform policy (see Appendix 1 Uniform Policy).

There may be occasional non-uniform days during the course of the academic year.

Because:

  • Students should wear their uniform with pride, be dressed suitably for school activities and be good ambassadors when representing their school.

(4)ATTENDANCE

Regular and punctual attendance in school uniform is expected. Students are expected to be punctual for class at all times (Education Welfare Act 2000). Students should only use toilets and go to lockers at break times, before and after school (see Appendix 2 Locker Policy). A student absent from school must bring an absent note from a parent/guardian on the day they return to school.

If a student has to leave school during school hours a note from parent/guardian must be provided. The note must be given to the principal/deputy principal to be signed and the student must sign out at the office before they leave and sign in if and when they return (see Appendix 3 Attendance Policy). The Education Welfare Board will be advised when a student is absent for 20 school days as required by the Education Welfare Act 2000. If a student is late for school they must sign in and hand in an explanation note.

Because:

  • Time missed hinders students progress
  • The school is entitled to an explanation for your absence
  • In the unlikely event of a student being late for school a note explaining why should be signed by the parent/guardian and presented to the office when signing in.
  • Each student has a responsibility to uphold the good name of the school while in school uniform or representing the school.

(5)PREPARATION

All relevant materials for individual classes must be brought to class and all homework must be satisfactorily completed (see Appendix 4 Homework Policy). Students will be provided with a school journal at the start of the school year. If a student loses or defaces a journal they will be required to replace it at their own expense. Journals must be signed weekly by parent/guardian (see Appendix 4 Homework Policy).

Because:

  • Homework reinforces the work done in class.
  • Your journal helps you to remember what you have to do and to get organised.
  • Having the relevant materials etc. reduces disruption in class and helps learning take place.
  • The journal acts as a way of communication with parents/guardians and the teaching staff.
  • Valuable teaching and learning time is lost if you haven’t got pens, books etc ready in class.
  • It is impossible to do the subjects without the materials/equipment needed.

(6) BOOK RENTAL SCHEME

The terms of the school book rental contract must be adhered to at all times.

Because:

  • The books have to be used by other students in the future.  
  • Students who pay to use these books in the future are entitled to books in good condition.

(7) HEALTH AND SAFETY

Students must adhere to the school policy for internet access and use. Use of the internet or social network sites to display school property, images of members of the school community is strictly forbidden.

The following are not allowed on the school premises:

  1. a)Tobacco
  2. b)Chewing gum
  3. c)Alcohol
  4. d)All illegal substances (see Appendix 5 Substance Abuse Policy)

School will impose a handling fee of €10 if student is in possession of tobacco products or chewing gum. All rules and guidelines in the school health and safety policy must be followed at all times (see Appendix 6 Health and Safety Policy)

Students must adhere to the schools healthy eating policy (see Appendix 7 Healthy Eating Policy.

Because:

  • Student safety is important when using the internet.
  • Everyone is responsible for helping to keep the school environment pleasant and safe.
  • Chewing gum destroys flooring, school furniture, tarmac etc. It may constitute a health hazard.
  • Smoking on the school premises is prohibited by law and is unhealthy and dangerous.
  • Substance abuse is illegal, dangerous, unhealthy and addictive. It causes misery and in the longer term may even destroy a young person’s life.


Promoting Good Behaviour Policy

Introduction

We are productive in promoting positive behaviour. St. Declan’s promote good and improved behaviour by students through a system of recognition and reward. Students, who obey school rules, produce good work, try hard, behave well, make a positive contribution to school life will be acknowledged and rewarded.

St. Declan’s has developed and will continue to develop its own methods to promote good behaviour. These include:  

1.Teachers are required to set high expectations for student behaviour, demonstrate good classroom management, give positive feedback about behaviour and model the behaviour that is expected from students. The school community conducts relationships in a fair, respectful and consistent manner.

2.Reference to the Code of Behaviour is a fundamental element of the curriculum. Rules and the rationale behind them are discussed as part of the S.P.H.E. / C.S.P.E. and Religious Education programmes, Assembly and Tutor Meetings.

3.The school journal is an effective means of conveying the positive behaviour of students to parents.

4.A reward system for each class encourages students to take ownership for their own behaviour.

5.A positive behaviour initiative is in operation in our school. On attainment of an agreed number of points the class will be acknowledged by awards agreed by the year group.

6.Students are informed of the contents of the Code of Behaviour and the standards expected of them.

7.Our Student Council was involved in the formation of the Code of Behaviour.

8.Our Parents Council and parent body was involved in the formation of the Code of behaviour

9.A copy of the school’s Code of Behaviour is issued to each student on their entry to the school; it is printed in their school diary. Parents/Guardians must sign their acceptance of the code of Behaviour in advance of their son/daughter taking a place in the school.

10.A reminder of the rules, the rationale behind them and the procedures followed should these rules not be upheld is delivered through the Pastoral Care system at the beginning of every school year.


Rewards and acknowledgements

  • Verbal praise and encouragement
  • Commendation in copy or journal
  • Display of students’ work
  • Student of the Year awards
  • Assemblies to celebrate individual and team successes
  • Annual Award Ceremony
  • School reference

Role of Parents/Guardians

Parents /Guardians are recognised as partners in the education process. Parents have a formal voice in assisting the development of the school through the Parent’s Council.

Parents/Guardians are welcome to make appointments to meet with staff and management in order to discuss their child’s progress. If a parent/guardian wishes to meet with any member of staff a prior appointment must be arranged through the school secretary.

Parents/guardians can support the work of the school through ensuring their son/daughter does each of the following

  • Behaves well in school
  • Has all requirements for each class
  • Does all homework each night
  • Wears full uniform
  • Comes to school each day on time

Parents/Guardians can additionally support the work of the school through attendance at:

  • Parent/Teacher Meetings
  • Information Evenings

Parents/Guardians may also be called to the school to discuss their son’s/daughter’s behaviour.


Sanctions

The following sanctions may be imposed where students are in breach of the Code of Behaviour. These sanctions facilitate the provision of an orderly learning environment for all in St. Declan’s.

(1) Verbal Reprimand

(2) Note in Diary

(3) Written punishment of an educational nature

(4) Withdrawal of privileges

(5) Detention

A sanction of detention may be applied where a pupil has engaged in persistent disruptive behaviour or has been in serious breach of school rules. The sanction of detention may be imposed by Class Teacher / Class Tutor / Year Head / Deputy Principal or Principal.

A student may be required to sit a lunch time or an after school detention.

(6) Report Cards

Report cards may be issued to a student if deemed necessary by a Class Tutor/Year Head/Deputy Principal/Principal when other classroom management strategies have been exhausted. The report card aims to monitor student’s behaviour and encourages compliance with the Code of Behaviour.

Report Cards also help the student monitor his/her own behaviour and make positive adjustments.

(7)Contract of Learning

A contract of learning may be invoked where a student has persistently broken school rules. A contract is a document agreeing to certain conditions agreed between management, parents/guardians and the student and signed by all parties

(8)Discipline Committee

Discipline Committee consists of the relevant Year Head, Class Tutor and another teacher. The committee is charged with the responsibility of protecting the right of every student of St. Declan’s Community College to learn in a relatively disruption free environment. The Discipline Committee advises the Principal on serious disciplinary issues:

          • The Discipline Committee will monitor students who are placed on a Contract of Learning
          • The Discipline Committee may meet students who consistently, despite sanctions imposed, breach the school Code of Behaviour.
          • When a student is on report parent/guardian will be notified by the staff member putting the student on report.

(9) Reduced Timetable: may be imposed for Health & Safety reasons.

(10) Suspension

The Board of Management has the authority to suspend a student. The Board of Management delegates authority to the Principal and the Deputy Principal to suspend a student for up to 3 days. The Board of Management may impose a longer suspension and normally a ceiling of ten days will apply on any one period of suspension.

Grounds for Suspension

Suspension may be considered when:

  • The students behaviour has had a seriously detrimental effect on the education of other students
  • The students continued presence in the school at this time constitutes a threat to safety
  • The student is responsible for serious damage to property
  • Serious defiance of school personnel
  • Suspension will be imposed only when it is a proportionate response to the behaviour that is causing concern.

Factors to consider before suspending a student

It is important to consider the context before imposing a sanction of suspension.

  • Record of behaviour
  • Interventions tried
  • Parental involvement
  • Seriousness of the breach of the Code of Behaviour
  • Health and Safety of staff and students

Procedures in respect of suspension

A complaint will be investigated by the Principal/Deputy Principal. The student is informed that an investigation is underway and that it may result in a suspension.

The student is given an opportunity to respond.

The parent is contacted and the issue is discussed. The sanction is discussed with the parent. The parent is given an opportunity to respond. A meeting with the parent may be arranged.

The sanction is imposed.

The parent is informed by letter of:

  • The period of suspension and the dates on which the suspension will begin and end.
  • The reasons for the suspension.
  • Student and parent may be asked to reaffirm their commitment to the Code of Behaviour.
  • Student and parent may be asked to sign a Contract of Learning.
  • The Board will formally review any proposal to suspend a student where the suspension would bring the number of days for which the student has been suspended in the current school year to twenty days or more. Any such suspension is subject to appeal under section 29 of the Education Act 1998.
  • The Principal may make a recommendation to the Board to suspend a student. The Board of Management will meet with the student and parents/guardians. The Board of Management will then decide whether or not to impose a sanction. If a suspension is imposed this suspension may be appealed to the V.E.C. or the D.E.S. (See Appeals Procedure)

 

Appeals Procedure

Parents or students over the age of 18 may appeal any suspension imposed by the Principal/Deputy Principal to the Board of Management. The Parent or student aged over 18 will be informed in writing of their right to appeal to the Board. A suspension imposed by the Board may be appealed to the V.E.C. in the first instance. When an appeal to the V.E.C. is concluded parents, or students aged over 18 may appeal to the Secretary General of the D.E.S. The parent or student aged over 18 will be informed in writing of their right to appeal to the V.E.C. and the D.E.S.

Re-integration of student at the end of suspension

A student may need the support of the Guidance Counsellor or other school professional to help in the re-integration process.

It is the responsibility of the student to ascertain the work covered in his/her absence.

When the sanction is completed the student will be given a fresh start.

When the student returns to school after a suspension they must report to the Principal/Deputy Principal.

The school expects the same behaviour from this student as of all other students. Student may be placed “On Report” for a period at the end of suspension to help student to monitor their own behaviour.

Student and parent may be asked to reaffirm their commitment to the Code of Behaviour.

Student may be asked to sign a Contract of Learning and the Parent/Guardian asked to witness this through their signature.


(11) Expulsion

Authority to Expel

The Board of Management of St. Declan’s Community College has the authority to expel a student from the school.

Expulsion may be considered when

  • The students’ behaviour has had a seriously detrimental effect on the education of other students.
  • The students continued presence in the school at this time constitutes a threat to safety.
  • The student is responsible for serious damage to property.
  • There is a serious breach of the Code of Behaviour.

Expulsion for a first offence

Expulsion for a first offence may be considered when:

  • A serious threat of violence against another student or member of staff.
  • Actual violence or physical assault.
  • Supplying illegal drugs to other students in the school.
  • Sexual assault/harassment.

Expulsion will be imposed only when it is a proportionate response to the behaviour that is causing concern.

Procedures in respect of Expulsion

1.A detailed investigation will be carried out under the direction of the Principal. The Principal will inform the student and the parent about the details of the alleged misbehaviour, how it will be investigated and that it could result in expulsion. Parents will be informed in writing and invited to attend a meeting with the Principal. Parents and student will have opportunity to respond to the complaint of serious misbehaviour before a decision is made and before a sanction is imposed.

If a student and parent fail to attend a meeting the Principal will write to invite them to a re-scheduled meeting.

2.The Principal makes a recommendation to the Board of Management to consider expulsion.

The Principal will

  • Inform the parents and the student that the Board of Management is being asked to consider expulsion
  • Ensure parents have all relevant records pertinent to the investigation, and written notice of the grounds on which the Board is being asked to consider expulsion
  • Provide the Board with the same comprehensive records as are given to the parents
  • Notify the parents of the date of the hearing by the Board and invite them to that hearing
  • Advise the parents that they can make a written and oral submission to the Board
  • Ensure that parents have enough notice to allow them to prepare for the hearing

3.Holding of a hearing: The Board will consider the Principal’s recommendation to expel a student

  • The Board will hold a hearing taking into account the rights of all parties
  • The Board should satisfy itself that the investigation was properly conducted and in line with fair procedures
  • The Board should review all documentation and the circumstances of the case
  • The Principal and the parents, or a student aged over 18 put their case to the Board in each other’s presence. Each party is given the opportunity to question the evidence of the other party directly
  • The parents may also make the case for lessening the sanction
  • The Principal and the parents will then leave the hearing

4. Board of Management deliberations and actions following the hearing

  • The Board will decide whether or not to expel the student.
  • The Parents or a student over the age of 18 will be informed of the decision of the Board.
  • If the Board decided to expel the student the Board must inform the Education Welfare Officer in writing stating that it is the opinion of the Board that the student should be expelled from school and the reasons for its opinion.
  • The student cannot be expelled from school for 20 school days from the date the E.W.O. receives the notification.
  • The student may be suspended from school during this period.
  • The Board will then inform the parents of its conclusions and the next steps in the process including notification to the E.W.O.

5.Consultations arranged by the Education Welfare Officer

The E.W.O. will consult with the relevant parties.

6.Confirmation of the decision to expel

When the 20 days has elapsed and where the Board remains of the opinion that the student should be expelled the Board will formally confirm the decision to expel. This task may be delegated to the Principal and the Chairperson of the Board.

Parents will be notified immediately that the expulsion will now proceed.

Parents will be informed about the right to appeal and supplied with the standard form on which to lodge an appeal.

7.Appeals

The appeal in the first instance will be to the V.E.C. and the parents have 14 days in which to lodge an appeal.

When the appeal to the V.E.C. has concluded the parent (or the student aged over 18) may appeal to the Secretary General of the D.E.S.

 

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